Gigantour Kicks off the Holiday Weekend with Nonstop Metal
July 8, 2013
By: Nicole McKay
What better way to kick off the 4th of July weekend than with a full day of metal and gambling at Mohegan Sun? Gigantour made its second stop of the tour in Connecticut on Friday with Megadeth, Black Label Society, Device, Hellyeah, Newsted, and Death Division.
Death Division got things going early with their short but sweet set filled with aggresive riffs and melodic vocals. The newcomers, managed by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's son Justis, showed no signs of being a new band. Gigantour was a pretty decent way to unveil the band, playing to a packed house of metalheads.
Newsted continued the show with 30 minutes of pure metal. Fronted by Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, the band make it very simple to see what they're about. With an EP simply titled "Metal" and wearing a shirt stating 'listen to metal,' Newsted is all about bringing back old school metal. The band played through a number of tracks from their EP, as well as a few from their August 6 full length release, Heavy Metal Music. Staind guitarist Mike Mushok also joined Newsted, bringing endless energy to the stage. Newsted proves his place as more than just a bassist with his vocals. They may have been riding on his Metallica fame to start up, but that is certainly changing as he makes a name for himself outside of the metal giant on this tour.
Supergroup Hellyeah took the prize for most energetic band of the night. Boasting an all star lineup of Mudvayne singer Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tibbett, Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell, Damageplan bassist Bob Zilla, and of course former Pantera and Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul. Gray leaped around the stage, stopping in between songs to mention the band's love of alcohol, and making sure everyone at Mohegan was getting "Drink Drank Drunk" with them. The band really got the crowd going with "Hellyeah" from their self-titled debut album, with pounding drums and guitars you just can't help but head band and mosh to.
Next up was Device, the new project from Disturbed frontman David Draiman, Evanescence drummer Will Hunt, and Dope guitarist Virus. The band have broken away from being regarded as no more than a Disturbed side project, making a name for themselves at some of the nation's biggest festivals in the past few months, including Rock on the Range. Draimain's distinct and recognizable voice backed by a blend of electronic elements and heavy drums began to get the crowd moving. The stacatto rhythm of his voice sounded great on "Wish" with a drum beat that had everyone in the pit dancing. For the final song Draiman urged everyone in the seats to stand up, finally saying we were ready for the bands to come.
The lights finally dimmed for Black Label Society to an eager crowd chanting their name. Unfortunately, the sound wasn't at its best, not surprisingly on just the second date of the tour. The vocals were drowned out by guitar, but that certainly wasn't a problem for the hundreds singing along. Frontman and guitarist Zakk Wylde wasted no time with small talk. The hour long set flew by, with breaks only for guitar solos from Wylde, who must have switched guitars at least 5 times throughout the set. The band were as into the music as the audience; if youhave an opportunity to see them live, don't miss it.
After a long day of heavy metal it was finally time for headliner Megadeth to take the stage. They had a modest stage set up with no more than a few screens and their banner, blowing the audience away with their talent rather than putting on a theatrical show. Like Black Label Society, Megadeth didn't take any time away from the music to interact with the crowd, giving us more music rather than chatting. The audience was a constant swirl of moshing and arms in the air throughout the rest of the night.
Included in the set was "Hangar 18," "Ashes in Your Mouth" and "Sweating Bullets" during which the flow of long melodic guitar solos and heavy, thrashing metal were a perfect balance. To close out the night their encore included an impressively done cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat" and for the final song of the night, "Holy Wars... The Punishment is Due." Maybe it was because I was savoring every last second of the too short set, but the encore was a definite highlight of the night.